I’m not saying don’t take credit for your ideas. By all means, sign your name on the bottom of the page so people know you had a part in it . But don’t hang on to an idea simply because you’re too scared that someone else might profit from it.
Disturbing truth: you’re never the first to have an idea. But you can be the first to action it.
The guy that invented the wheel? He was probably not the first guy to think: “Dammit. There must be an easier way to get a brontosaurus home. This dragging thing just isn’t working.” But he was the first guy to do something about it. Ditto the gal who first peeled a banana and the guy who got tired of walking around barefoot.
You may have the idea locked up in your head “somewhere safe” but if you don’t do something about it, someone else will. And he will take the credit for it. So voice the idea and share in the glory or hand its execution over to someone else entirely. Do it enough times and you become “that dude who has all those really cool ideas.” That’s a seriously good title to have…one that will serve you well over your career. Oh, if the idea of handing over ideas for nothing terrifies you, then clearly you don’t have very many ideas. And you’re probably a suit.
By the way I got the idea of giving ideas away from “It’s Not How Good You Are; It’s How Good You Want To Be” by the late Paul Arden. His motivations for doing so were different to mine. His were more holistic (“The problem with hoarding is that you end up living off your reserves. Eventually you’ll become stale.”), whereas mine are all about self-promotion. But the idea is sound no matter the application. Good idea, Paul.